Northampton Press

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Borough holds line on taxes

Wednesday, December 26, 2018 by AL RECKER Special to The Press in Local News

Council OKs $6.3 million spending plan

Northampton Borough Council unanimously adopted the 2019 budget during its meeting Dec. 20. The $6,311,320 spending plan retains the 10-mill property tax level.

For properties assessed at $50,000, with a $100,000 appraisal, the tax is $500. Properties with a $100,000 assessment, and a $200,000 appraised value, carry a $1,000 real estate tax.

The budget brings some good tidings for borough employees. A 2.5-percent pay boost was approved for nonunion employees. Borough police officers, via a contract approved by council in November, provides the 11 uniformed staff to receive 4-percent pay raises in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

According to borough Manager LeRoy Brobst, the budget expenditures represent a $44,630 decrease, approximately 0.71 percent less than this year.

“Fortunately, it will not be necessary to increase taxes,” he said.

Anticipating 2018 will have a $1,765,566 closing balance, an increase of $514,515 over the 2017 projected closing balance, is a factor. The projected closing balance for 2019 is pegged at $1,637,508, well over the state’s recommended 10-percent balance.

The separate sewer budget is $1,465,624, with an anticipated $1,642,700 in revenue.

Brobst said, in light of a study by the borough’s environmental engineers, Gilmore & Associates, “Council may wish to consider a sewer rate adjustment within the not-too-distant future.”

Factors that led to a successful financial year, according to Brobst, included a higher county real estate tax, state pension aid, garbage collection fees, permit fees, a donation from North Catasauqua toward the purchase of a new paving machine and a return on medical insurance premiums.

The highest expenditure in the 2019 budget is $1,827,984 for police protection. Fire protection comes in at $145,400; code enforcement and building inspections, $115,612; public works, $831,967; and refuse collection and disposal, along with weed and grass control, $954,765.

On the revenue side of the ledger, taxes are projected to yield $3,507,852. The balance of funding will come from the culture and recreation category, which includes the municipal pool and Northampton Banquet & Event Center, and sanitation and health category, which includes garbage collection fees.